With an opportunity to deliver a knockout blow in the third inning of Friday’s first-round regional game against Hillcrest, Highland coach Carrie Wieland called on freshman Adeline Krotz to …
With an opportunity to deliver a knockout blow in the third inning of Friday’s first-round regional game against Hillcrest, Highland coach Carrie Wieland called on freshman Adeline Krotz to pick up a bat.
Krotz had just three career plate appearances when she stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded and two outs in the inning. The pinch hitter dug in, looking to add to the three-run lead.
“I wasn't on deck so I didn't get to take any practice swings,” Krotz explained. “So it was very intimidating just going out there.”
She fell behind in the count 1-2, but continued to battle.
“It was very nerve racking and I just had to keep fouling them off,” she said.
After three straight foul balls, she hit one square. Her double to center field scored three runs and doubled the lead as the Huskies went on to defeat the Ravens 13-1 in four innings.
While Krotz was light on experience, Wieland said that she trusted her mentality in that situation.
“We brought her up (to varsity) late to run bases,” Wieland said. “And then (assistant coach) Samantha (Cox) and I talked about it, we just know that she's a gamer. She wants to do everything great.
“She was probably very nervous, but she was just going to do her thing — and what a stroke. I'm so proud of her, super proud.”
Another Huskie freshman, Lilly Barre, also came through with an RBI single in the previous at bat to keep the inning going for Krotz, who later scored on a passed ball.
Sophomore Sarah Burton hit a 2-run homer as Highland scored eight runs all with two outs in the third inning.
“She actually struck me out the (at bat) before,” Burton said. ‘So I knew that I had to kind of get her back and get on top of it, and score that runner that we had on. That's what I focused on doing — making contact with it.”
Grace Batcheller and MyLei Smith each went 2-for-3 at the plate and Smith drove in a run.
Madison Beeson had the game-ending two-run single with no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Batcheller was the winning pitcher, allowing one unearned run on two hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
The Ravens finished the season with a record of 4-19, the program’s most wins since 2017.
Norah Yoder hit a leadoff single for the Ravens, but was out at second base after the next at bat — a fielder’s choice to the pitcher from Evelyn Gerber. Gerber stole second and third base and scored the Ravens’ only run on an error. Leah Bontrager doubled in the inning as well.
Bontrager retired the side with two strikeouts in the bottom half of the third inning to keep the deficit to two runs.
Malia Yoder drew a 2-out walk in the third and Esther Hughes reached base on error to put the tying runs on base, but Batcheller would not allow another baserunner.
“We came out with great energy,” Hillcrest coach Kent Blossom said. “You know, we wanted to just compete. We knew the last few games against them weren’t score lines we wanted.
“We wanted to keep on putting pressure on them and be aggressive. And we did that with Evelyn Gerber getting on base, trying to make something happen with the steal at third. And, you know, they weren't able to make a play. And we just took a chance at home and it turned out well for us to get a run across.
Highland (20-8-1) advances to the regional quarterfinal on Wednesday. The Huskies will host English Valleys (15-9), who was a 5-2 winner over North Mahaska. The winner will meet either Tri-County (14-13) or No. 7 Twin Cedars (22-3) in the regional semifinal on Friday.